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Op-Ed on “So Called” Law

Op-Ed on “So Called” Law

Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow and Yale Law School Dean Robert C. Post wrote the op-ed “Standing up for ‘so-called’ law," published on February 10, 2017, by The Boston Globe.

In the piece, the deans examine President Trump’s treatment of the judiciary. 

From the op-ed:

We are deans of respected law schools. We have dedicated our professional lives to the proposition that law overrides violence with reason. Law stands for what we have in common, not merely what divides us. Law respects disagreement; it patiently considers evidence and advocacy; it engages with the views of all. Each person — not just each citizen — is equal before the law. Created in ancient times to terminate endless cycles of vengeance and retribution, law substitutes official, publicly justified sanctions for animosity and enmity.

This is what is so radically disturbing about Trump’s attack on Judge James L. Robart, the George W. Bush appointee who temporarily suspended the enforcement of the executive order. If Trump believes he can make an enemy of the law and of the Constitution, then he has truly become a foe of the Republic, despite the oath he swore at his inauguration. The craft and professional culture of law is what makes politics possible; it is what keeps politics from spiraling into endless violence. By questioning the legitimacy and authority of judges, Trump seems perilously close to characterizing the law as simply one more enemy to be smashed into submission. At risk are the legal practices and protections that guard our freedom and our safety from the mob violence that destroyed democracies in the 1930s.

Read the full piece online (subscription may be required).

Deans Minow and Post are ALI members.  Dean Post serves as an Adviser on the Principles of the Law, Data Privacy project.